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BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies

Course Points
226 Points
Course Duration
4 Years
Course Level
Level 8
Course Places
25 Places
Course Start Date
September 2024

Three great reasons to consider this course

  • Professional Practice Placement in each of the four years.
  • Focus on inclusive practice including working with children with additional needs.
  • Student development and management of an on-site Parent and Toddler group.

Course Summary

Level 8 degree programme that provides students with a professional qualification in Early Childhood Studies. This programme will nurture student’s personal, social and professional development with a view to developing a highly competent professional educator committed to providing high-quality care and education services for babies, toddlers, young children and their families. The programme is steeped in the contemporary principles of best practice as determined by National Curriculum and Quality Frameworks Aistear, Siolta and the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Charter and Guidelines for Early Years Practice.

Increasing numbers of babies and toddlers are accessing full day-care services and 96% of eligible children now attend preschool (ECCE Scheme). Well qualified early childhood professional educators are needed to provide these children with high-quality care and education experiences and to meet policy and legislative demands. 

The programme involves the study of related disciplines of early years’ care, education, psychology, sociology, law, creative play, interactions, social policy, research and health and welfare for children aged 0-6 years. The programme also introduces the student to the principles and practices relevant to School Age Childcare.

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Theories and Perspectives on Play
  • Child Development
  • Learning to Learn in Early Childhood Studies
  • Promoting Well-being

Semester 2

  • Music and Movement for Babies and Young Children
  • Interactions: Hanen Certificate
  • Observation and the Assessment Process in Early Childhood
  • Professional Practice 1

Year 2

Semester 1

  • The Young Child with Additional Needs
  • Guiding Young Children's Behaviour and Self-Regulation
  • Professional Practice 2
  • Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties

Semester 2

  • The Visual Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Exploring and Thinking in Early Childhood
  • Introducing Evidence-Based Practice
  • Physical Activity in Early Childhood
  • Sociology of the Child and Family
  • Exploring Numeracy and Literacy in Early Childhood

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Pedagogical Framing
  • Outdoor Play and Learning
  • The Reflective Early Childhood Practitioner
  • Consultation and Evaluation
  • Applied Law and Regulation in Early Childhood

Semester 2

  • School Age Childcare
  • Pretend Play, Storytelling and Children's Literature
  • Professional Practice 3
  • Social Policy and the Voice of the Child
  • Entrepreneurship, Business and Management Skills in the Early Years Context

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Early Years Curriculum in the Irish Context
  • Reflective Pedagogy and the Professional Educator
  • Early Years Research Project
  • Professional Practice 4

Semester 2

  • Contemporary Practice
  • Identity & Psychological Well-being in Early Childhood
  • Leadership and Advocacy in the Early Years Sector
  • Early Years Research Project


* All module titles are subject to change and are for indicative purposes only.

4 year full time course with a mix of Lectures to convey critical information, Tutorials where students are divided into smaller class groupings and enabled to complete assigned activities, develop specific skills and discuss study topics, Directed Reading where students are guided to materials that provide additional relevant interpretation on topics covered in class and supplementary reading to enhance understanding and Independent Study Student responsibility to organise and manage own study space and time and commitment to supplement classroom input with additional reading and interpretative reflection. In addition, there are practical classes and Reflection and Evaluation Workshops with fieldwork professional practice placement opportunities in each year of the course. 

This programme is designed to meet the growing demand for early childhood specialists across the diversity of early childhood care and education services and addresses the needs of the public, community and private sectors.  Graduates  are equipped with knowledge, expertise and extensive professional experience that prepares for professional educator practice and leadership roles within the early childhood sector both nationally  and internationally.

These include:

  • Early childhood educator 
  • Manager in an early years centre 
  • Early years inspector 
  • Early years specialist 
  • Entrepreneur in the ECE field
Graduates will also have career opportunities in other areas of Early Childhood such as policy development or as a researcher and in related fields of professional practice, further education and with voluntary organisations.

Opportunities for postgraduate study at Graduate Diploma, Masters and Doctoral level are available both nationally and internationally in early years and allied disciplines.  

Please find information on fees and funding here:

Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements:

Six Grades at O6 or H7 in Leaving Certificate

→ INCLUDING At least two H5 Grades
→ AND Mathematics Grade O6 or H7
→ AND English Grade O6 or H7 OR Irish Grade O6 or H

Northern Ireland/UK Entry Requirements:

Applicants must meet the matriculation requirement of 6 different subjects which must include:

→ Mathematics at GCSE (Grade A* - C) or better
→ English (or Irish) at GCSE (Grade A* - C) or better
→ Two subjects at either:

    • ‘A Level’ (Grade A* - C)
    • AND/OR Applied A-Level (Grade A* - C)
    • AND/OR BTEC National Level 3 (National Award, Subsidiary Diploma, Extended Certificate, 90-Credit Diploma, Foundation Diploma) (Grade Merit or Distinction).
    • AND/OR OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 (Introductory Diploma, Extended Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Foundation Diploma, 90-Credit Diploma) (Grade Merit or Distinction)
    • OR BTEC National Level 3 Diploma (Grade min: MM)
    • OR OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (Grade min: MM)
    • OR BTEC National Level 3 Extended Diploma (Grade min: MMP)

→ The remaining subjects must be different from that presented above and may be drawn from recognised subjects at:

    • GCSE (Grade A* - C)
    • AND/OR AS Level’ (Grades A - E)
    • AND/OR A-level’ (Grades A* - E)
    • AND/OR Applied ‘A-level’ (Grade A* - E)
    • AND/OR BTEC National Level 3 (National Award, Subsidiary Diploma, Extended Certificate, 90-Credit Diploma, Foundation Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma*) (Pass, Merit or Distinction).
    • AND/OR OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 (Introductory Diploma, Extended Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Foundation Diploma, 90-Credit Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma*) (Pass, Merit or Distinction).

Mature Applicants Entry Requirements:

Minimum of 23 years of age on January 1st of year of application. For further information please see our page on applying as a mature student.

Please Note:

Because of the work placement on this course, applicants must successfully pass Garda/Police vetting for all jurisdictions where the student was/is resident.

Furthermore, students on the programme are subject to fitness to practise regulations.

Work placement is an integral part of the programme with a Professional Practice Placement in each of the four years which provides students with an opportunity to learn from experience through supervised practice. Experiential learning in this way provides an opportunity for students to engage in reflective practice and enrich personal and professional development. 

  • In first year, the placement is with typically developing children in full day-care (12 weeks) 
  • In second year, the placement will be with children who have additional needs (7 weeks)  
  • In third year, the student can choose a specialist placement of particular interest. This may be an international placement (6-8 weeks) 
  • In fourth year, the student group, manage and run a parent & baby group in the college (1 day a week over the semester) 


  • Those who values a high quality educational experience leading to an Internationally recognised qualification

  • Those who wish to gain a qualification that meets the regulatory requirements for working in the Early Years sector in Ireland.
  • Those who value young children and the contribution they make to society.

Mary McSkeane

Programme Director

Phone: +353 429370200 Ext 2798

Unique Features of This Course

  • Professional Practice Placement in each of the four years
  • Focus on inclusive practice including working with children with special needs
  • Opportunity to undertake a specialised Professional Practice Placement abroad
  • Student development and management of an on-site Parent and Toddler group
Course ID DK876
CAO Round 1 Entry Points (2023) 226 Points
Course Type Undergraduate
Study Mode Full-Time
Level 8
Duration 4 Years
Starting Date September 2024
School School of Health & Science
Department Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years
Awarding Body Dundalk Institute of Technology
Delivery Method On Campus

How To Apply

Apply on CAO

All standard entry first-year applicants must apply for entry through the CAO. See Important application dates for CAO and information for specific applicant types below:

CAO Code: DK876
Apply on CAO

Advanced Entry & Transfer Applications

Advanced Entry is for applicants who have previous educational achievements and/or work experience and want to be considered for direct entry into year  2, 3, or 4 of a course. This includes students looking to transfer to DkIT from another Higher Education provider.

Closing Date: 6th June
Apply Now

International Application (non-EU)

International Applicants (not from or living in the EU) can apply through an agent or directly to DkIT to study this course.